Quick Review: MLR Products Ballast Spreader
This classic HO scale tool was designed to help speed the process of spreading ballast on your layout. This exact model is showing discounted, but they are often still in stock at hobby shops, or found at swap meets. Micromark makes a similar model as well.
I picked this one up cheaply on the secondhand market, however it was new, unused.
I decided to test it spreading ballast in an unfinished section of my display/test/programming shelf layout.
I used Arizona Rock and Mineral HO scale real Rock ballast in my test, which I also spread in a few other areas my more traditional way (Read more here Ballasting Done Right (Version 2)).
It was quickly apparent that the ballast only released through the center hole, and was not dispensing over the shoulder of the roadbed.
The hard rubber tab dragged the real rock ballast between the ties, but didn't really distribute it well. This may be in part to the size of the real rock grains, likely they intended the product to be used with Woodland Scenics ballast.
While the cost of this vintage discounted tool was very low, I've come to the conclusion that I had assumed many years ago. It's not worth the cost. Although the Micromark product is similar, I don't have have one to test against it, and I really don't want to spend my hobby money on something that may not work.
Overall I give this product a 1 out of 5.